What caregivers need to know about having COPD and treatment for COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
If you don’t know where to start, try learning about the condition and how it progresses. The more you know about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema or both and what to expect over time, the better you may be able to care for someone who has it. This information will hopefully make you even more patient and empathetic as you help your loved one cope with the effects of the disease day to day.
By learning about symptoms and what causes them, you can gain a better feel for when the person you’re caring for is having good days—or bad days—and when it’s appropriate to call a healthcare provider. You can start with a look at COPD and its symptoms.
COPD caregivers need to care for themselves
Your help as a caregiver can be essential for someone with COPD. Yet, caring for someone with COPD can take a toll on you both physically and emotionally unless you tend to your own needs, as well.
For example, don’t forget to carve out some “me time.” Ask a friend or relative for help. Or, contact a local senior center or your place of worship to find a volunteer to help out. Then, do something that gives you pleasure. Participate in a book club, exercise, and socialize with family and friends. Don’t feel guilty—time away will help you return to responsibilities refreshed and re-energized. Explore below for a few more ideas.
If COPD symptoms get worse:
It’s also important that you recognize what exacerbation are, why they occur, and how to help prevent them. Exacerbations are when symptoms are worse than usual. This can last for a few days or longer and often requires treatment with antibiotics, oral steroids, and, in some cases, hospitalization. Familiarizing yourself with available treatment options would also be helpful.